Monday, July 17, 2006

Rain, Mint and Flooding

Now it's time for me to talk about what is going on locally. I know that the G8 and the crisis in the Middle East are dominating the news. This is so much so that the UN Security Council’s unanimous vote on a referendum regarding North Korea and North Korea’s resulting blabber has also been virtually ignored by the press. BTW, let’s hope this sends a strong message to North Korea.

To me, having two or three news stories dominate the news is interestingly disturbing. It’s one big reason why the general public is so uninformed about most current events. You have each and every news agency reporting the same damn stories. How informative can that be? Thank God for blogs!

With that in mind, it’s time for some local flavor.

In Korea right now it’s the 장마 season, jangma season, which translates to monsoon season. What that means is from July to August there is a lot of rain here. I don’t mind it as it cools the air down and zaps away the humidity. However, it’s been raining pretty much non-stop since late last week and today is Tuesday. It’s been great for me because I live up on a hill, so the water just flows downward. What that means unfortunately is in Seoul the Han River has flowed over onto some streets. I’ve had no reason to go out since Saturday, so I’ve chosen to avoid any bad results of all this rain by just enjoying my time at home.

Just a few days ago it was hot, hot, hot. I was being a minimalist and trying to conserve which means I didn’t turn on my air conditioner. Instead, I relied on my fan and a small air cooler I bought a couple of years ago. You just freeze the ice packs that come with the cooler, fill it with water and let it rip. It’s not as effective as an air conditioner, but I really don’t need to cool down my two bedroom place as it’s just me and my cat. I just need to cool the part of the apartment that I’m in.

All that just goes to say I’ve been ecstatic with the rain and the clouds. I miss the sun, but when the sun comes up the humidity goes up. If I must choose, I’ll choose clouds because as a born and raised Californian because I like dry heat. Living in Korea during the summer is like living in a sauna at times. I’ve discovered great things like mint and mentholated body washes and other mint products. Mint cools you down in the summer and it’s like good sex to hop into the shower and slather that stuff on.

I went mad last year when the Body Shop stopped carrying their Cooling Shower Gel last year. I just about died because I discovered it the summer before. When you rinse after using a product like that the mint is still tingling and cool. I found that Missha, a Korean beauty chain, were much smarter and had a product called Missha Ice Cream Body Wash in a Mint N’ Chocochips scent. Paydirt baby!

Missha saved my summer last year and for this I’m very loyal to them now. Screw the Body Shop! Who needs them? Now I roll into Missha every few months to make sure they still have it and they’re not phasing it out. Last time I went there, I bought three bottles just to make sure that if someone in marketing did decide to phase it out, I’d have my stash for the summer. So, seriously, try it if you’re in a hot climate try a mint or menthol based body product. They’re wonderful ways to cool down.

Now the bad part about all of this rain is that if you’re downstream and in low laying areas, you will be inundated with tons of water. Unfortunately, that’s what is happening here in Korea right now. According to reports 20 people have died and quite a few are missing. Here is a link to the latest story on the rain here: Rain Kills at Least 20 in South Korea

When I ran a search to get updated information I noticed that the news sources were coming from Korea, India, China, and other sources in Asia and the Pacific Rim. Now this isn’t a surprise, but no matter where I am I want to know what’s going on in other parts of the world. It would be nice to see international news agencies pick up stories like this. It was somewhat frustrating to go to CNN looking for news on this and being able to only find stories on North Korea. In fact, in the sidebar I had the choice of World stories from only Africa, the Americas and the Middle East. That jus blantantly leaves out other regions and there is newsworthy stuff happening all over the world. It's just so short-sighted, but I know it's profit driven.

I think this apathy to global current events is bad because if you only hear about stories that affect you you’re not likely to understand or reach out to other people.

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  1. I don't have cable, so any news I get via TV (aside from the BBC, which airs past my bedtime on PBS) is network news. I can't even watch it because it pisses me off so. But somebody must be watching it...else why is it still on?

    Thank God for the Internet...and for living in a college town with access to a variety of international papers.

    Re mint in the summer: Good suggestion. I wish I had some Dr. Bronner's peppermint on me right now. Oh well...I've got some unscented shower gel and body oil and I think I'll go make me a peppermint version with my peppermint EO.

  2. Hehehehe...

    Well, I've been reading blogs from back home and almost EVERYONE is whining about the heat, so I guess I posted this at the right time! Pass it on!

  3. Interesting blog yourself!

    Thanks for the visit and comment on mine. And yes, the news sucks! I only have the world’s worst television programming to entertain me - AFN (Armed Forces Network)

    Korea is a place I've always wanted to visit. North Korea also, and with this current President who knows, I might even be working there one day.


  4. I've visited!

    Okay, it was on the USO DMZ tour, so it’s not like I got to fly into Pyongyang from China. It was so surreal being at the Joint Security Area (JSA) at Panmunjom. You have the tall six foot tall South Korea guards with shades staring down their North Korean counterparts. It’s just bizarre all around.

    Stepping over “the line” and being told “you’re now in North Korea” was weird. I’d love to go to Pyongyang, but under the current circumstances I don’t think any American civilian would get approval to go. Plus, it’s not like going to Thailand. It’s expensive and you have a “guide” the whole time.

    It’s a fascinating stand-off with some interesting characters.

    What’s really weird is being in Vladivostok, Russia and wondering when I encountered a Korean whether they were South Korean or North Korean (of course, they could also be a Russian or Chinese born Korean who has never been to either of the two Koreas). Too bad my language skills are limited. I went only knowing how to say 안녕하십니까, 대한민국 사람? (“Hello, South Korean person?”) And that’s definitely pidgin Korean how I wrote it. I know how to speak it a bit better, but I still don’t know what North Koreans use to identify themselves from South Koreans or if they make a distinction as they might be taught to call themselves simply Koreans, 한국 사람, Korean person, the way most South Koreans do.

    The thing that’s really sad is that if they do get from North to South they won’t admit to people here in South Korea that they’re from North Korea.


Hey there! Thanks for visiting my blog. It's my first blog, and I'm glad folks are still stopping by even though I'm no longer living in South Korea. Feel free to comment. If you want a personal answer, leave your email, and I won't publish the comment. Nasty comments and spam links will not be tolerated.